Do you suffer from frequent headaches?
Are they getting you down?
Considering the hectic lifestyles, we all lead. Traveling long distances for work, our busy personal and professional lives, and experiencing daily stress, it's not surprising that many of us suffer from frequent, sometimes daily, headaches.
They always seem to strike at the worst moment, too, don't they? Leaving you with no choice but to cancel everything. Like right before an important presentation or work meeting, sporting competition, kids’ baseball game or during that celebratory dinner you've been planning for months?
Unfortunately, there is no way to predict when you get headaches. You can't plan when you're going to have one nor when you're not, which means you can't plan anything. It’s no fun.
While headaches are sometimes the result of an underlying disease or medical condition, some headaches can also be caused by skipping meals, too much caffeine or caffeine withdrawal, alcohol use, and too much physical activity.
But in most cases, headaches result from poor lifestyle choices, the buildup of stress, and not living a healthy, well-balanced life.
More Blogs From Manual Physical Therapy & Concierge Services
What Are The Symptoms Of Headaches?
The symptoms of frequent and chronic daily headaches include a wide variety of symptoms that vary from person to person. But the most common ones we hear from patients include:
But What Can You Do About Them?
Well, you can take over-the-counter medications like painkillers and anti-inflammatory tablets to treat headaches.
But they don't fix the issue. Instead, they just mask the symptoms – and enable you to get through the day.
Exceeding the recommended dosage by popping pills too frequently can be dangerous and cause stomach problems (among many other issues that negatively affect your health).
In addition, evidence suggests that overuse of painkillers and other medications can also cause “rebound headaches,” I.e., worsen or make your headaches more frequent.
So, we recommend avoiding them altogether.
In this blog, we look at some of the remedies there are available to treat frequent headaches and migraines. Along with the lifestyle changes you can make to manage the symptoms more effectively:
Top 10 Tips To Reduce The Frequency and Intensity Of Headaches
1. Increase Your Water Intake
Surprising as it may seem, having adequate water throughout the day may relieve headache symptoms and possibly even prevent them.
That is because dehydration can be one of the leading causes of headaches that can also impact our physical and emotional well-being.
In addition, studies have shown that consuming enough water daily can help keep your body hydrated and make you feel good. You can also maintain good hydration levels by eating foods rich in liquid content like soups, smoothies, fruits, and vegetables.
2. Cold/Hot Compression Packs
One of the most straightforward solutions to treat headaches is using a cold compression pack on the forehead or neck to constrict the blood vessels and relieve inflammation.
Studies have shown that individuals suffering from migraines benefit from the pain relief that cold packs provide.
Do not apply for more than 20 minutes at a time, and do not apply directly to the skin.
Alternatively, using a warm compression pack to soothe the muscles and reduce pain can help if you have a headache from tight neck muscles.
Even just wrapping a heated towel around the head might prove effective. Similarly, a warm bath or shower can work too.
3. Identify Food Intolerances
Individuals who frequently suffer from headaches or migraines may have specific food intolerances. Food intolerance can often be the underlying reason for frequent headaches.
So if you suspect that particular food or drink may be causing your headaches, you can try an elimination diet to see if it helps. Then you can identify and avoid the foods that make your headaches worse.
Foods that commonly trigger or exacerbate headaches and migraines include chocolate, tea, coffee, and other caffeine-containing foods and drinks, fermented foods, artificial sweeteners, and processed meat products that contain nitrates.
4. Consider Getting A Massage
There are pressure points within the human body that, through massage, can remove tension and help to prevent the onset of a headache.
For example, many people tend to be instinctive and massage the base of the neck or temple areas of the forehead when they feel stressed and suspect a headache is about to start.
However, a gentle massage of key areas like the neck, face, or jaw will help to release any pent-up tension, improve circulation, and reduce the possibility of a headache.
Getting a massage from a qualified physical therapist is likely to be most beneficial because we are well versed with the primary pressure points that can prevent headaches.
5. Dim Bright Lighting
Excessively bright lights are also known to cause headaches, so ensure that the lighting in your home and workplace is not too harsh.
When you’re using your smartphone or laptop or watching television, you can adjust the brightness and contrast settings to a more comfortable level.
Also, opt for dim lighting or candlelight in the background in the evenings – and get the bonus of a better night’s sleep too.
6. Remove Anything Causing Pressure
Headaches can also arise in some cases because of physical reasons like wearing something too tight on the head, like a headband, hat, or ponytail that is too tight. Relieve the head of anything that may be causing pressure, as it could lead to headaches.
7. Incorporate Physical Activity
Doing at least 30 minutes of physical activity five days a week promotes well-being. It also improves blood circulation and helps you stay healthy.
Better circulation is thought to help relieve the frequent headaches that pop up for some people from time to time.
Choose moderate exercises like riding a bike, walking, or swimming – anything that lets you break a sweat and get blood and oxygen flowing.
8. Sip On Green Tea
There are numerous touted health benefits of drinking herbal teas in wide varieties and flavors. They contain various natural compounds that can be beneficial for digestion and stress and have functional oxidative properties.
If you suffer from headaches, you can try sipping on green tea or prefer tea, as they seem helpful for people suffering from migraines.
Some other herbal flavors worth trying for headache relief include lavender, lemon, chamomile, and peppermint.
9. Get Sufficient Sleep
While there are many causes of developing a headache, lack of proper sleep is among the leading contenders for causing headaches.
Sleeping too little or even too much can cause frequent headaches. Not getting sound sleep. Good quality sleep is one of the top reasons as well.
Aim to get a minimum of 7 hours of good sleep daily, which will help decrease the risk of frequent headaches.
10. Practice Meditation
One of the best ways to prevent headaches is by practicing meditation regularly.
Any stress-related headache will improve considerably by adopting relaxation techniques like meditation, deep-belly breathing, and yoga.
These mindfulness practices help to relax the mind and the body, removing stress and tension, which are some leading causes of headaches.
How Physical Therapy Provides Relief From Headaches
The above tips are great ideas for adding healthy habits to your life. These things can improve all aspects of your life and well-being, not just prevent headaches.
But sometimes, lifestyle changes alone are not enough to reduce or prevent frequent headaches. Often the cause of frequent headaches is a neurological or musculoskeletal issue – that requires a skilled doctor or physical therapist to identify and fix.
We can evaluate your medical history and perform a detailed physical examination to find the root cause. We may also suggest additional imaging tests or other relevant health checks to assess what's causing your headaches.
Once we know what’s going on, we use our unique form of manual physical therapy to rectify the alignment and function of the head, neck, spine, and the rest of your body.
This realignment helps to reduce the frequency and severity of headaches, migraines, and cervicogenic problems and prevents them from reoccurring.
At Manual Physical Therapy & Concierge Services, we help you naturally ease chronic pain and resolve and prevent frequent headaches – without using painkillers or other medications.
We specialize in treating complex cases where patients have often endured daily pain and headaches for many years, if not decades. We get to the root of the problem and provide long-lasting relief.